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Stick Around for Joy

Posted on

Stick Around for Joy

Current Status:
In Season

We gave it a B-

Life’s Too Good, the 1988 debut LP of Iceland’s Sugarcubes, was hailed by critics as much for the band’s remote address as for its music. It would have been nice if the Sugarcubes had included in Stick Around for Joy, something uniquely Icelandic in their sound: songs about fish, maybe, or hot springs or volcanoes or chess. Instead, the band has always sounded like a slightly more tuneless and nonsensical version of Britain’s Siouxsie and the Banshees, which may be a tribute to the global appeal of modern rock aesthetics but is also boring as hell. Singer Bjork Gudmundsottir’s supersonically high squawk is well on key, but it’s surprisingly unmelodious, though hornplayer and vocalist Einar Orn’s deadpan voice-overs in goofy broken English do lighten up the monotony of Gudmundsottir’s intense delivery. One other thing helps charge the Sugarcubes’ music with interest: their sense of humor. The song ”Hetero Scum” is particularly amusing — ”I’m leaking you’re leaking” yelps Orn — while ”Vitamin” works into a pretty good imitation of the wacky dance-pop of the B-52’s. The pseudo-exotic Sugarcubes don’t sound much different from your average Manchester rhythm-heavy ”rave” band, but at least they have the youthful exuberance of the best of that breed. B-